The humanitarian sector has been trying for years to come up with a better option for sheltering refugees.
Find out about one recent prototype shelter resulting from a partnership between the IKEA Foundation, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Refugee Housing Unit (RHU), a subsidiary of the non-profit Swedish Industrial Design Foundation.
Details from IRIN: http://j.mp/17pPBQa
Amazing. I always ha faith in IKEA
What do you do when you’re stuck between making a responsible decision to continue your studies in something sensible or choosing to follow a hobby that once made you crazy and happy at the same time? It wasn’t a hobby, actually. It was part of me. My art.
I always pause and think when it comes to this decision. I look both ways before I cross.
Should I go for it? What’s holding me back? Can I handle it? What’s the worst and what’s the best that can happen?
I actually pride myself on being so decisive and taking risks but is my art something I don’t want to play with?
What should I do?
Everyday there’s something new you find in Erbil. Whether its food, a bowling alley, a street vendor, Williams and Sonoma plates, cute summer dress at the Lenga or a new high rise.
This city is growing at such a fast pace, I feel like I’m aging a lot quicker than I should. It’s hard to feel grounded in a place that keeps you surprised and wondering, like “will they ever build a road in front of my house or is that meat in a can actually edible?”
Either way, it’s time for me to go home and reset myself, so I can keep up with this budding teen.
I find it amazing how fast life passes before our eyes. Everyday, I wake up dreading the length of a day and before I know it, it’s over.
Will this be how my life will pass by?
I rather enjoy each moment and savor it, but all the days can mesh into each other without any discerning qualities.
Meh, at least I have my cat.
My cat doesn’t mind that all her days are exactly the same, she just likes to sleep in the sunlight, to act cute and to eat.
Maybe there is something to learn from a cat, they are perfectly comfortable acting like royalty among us humans lounging, eating and sleeping.
I find it amazing how some people still choose to ignore a persons’ sincereness in their character and preoccupy themselves with what is culturally acceptable.
Don’t try to fit me in a box, don’t you dare tell me how to behave and when I speak, be grateful that I am one of the few who don’t lie in your face just to please society and fit in.
I may be petite, but I’m not dainty. I may be tiny, but my personally is huge and I may be new to this place but I’m old school.
I know, you’re uncomfortable with my Bronx attitude in this little city of Erbil, but then again, it’s really not my problem.
Tattered Remnants of a Star
10,000 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, a massive star went supernova, collapsing under the weight of its own gravity and blowing its outer layers into space, causing its own explosive demise. Shattered fragments are all that remain of the star—a huge swirls of debris and stellar ejecta called Cassiopeia A. It contains gases of 10 million degrees Celsius, created when the supernova flung out materials that smashed into surrounding dust and gas at speeds of 16 million km/hour. Cas A is actually the strongest radio source in the sky beyond our solar system, and the images above show the remnants in both optical and X-ray wavelengths, capturing the complex, intricate structure of the debris, fascinating in its utter destruction. The false colours indicate chemical compositions: bright green filaments are rich in oxygen, red and purple are sulphur, and blue are hydrogen and nitrogen. The light of Cas A first reached Earth just 340 years ago, so it’s one of the youngest and freshest such remnants we know of in the Milky Way. Studying it will help us understand the evolution of the universe. But it still holds some mysteries—take a closer look at the last image, and note the small turquoise dot right in the centre. Astronomers believe this is a neutron star—an ultra-dense star created during the supernova. Years of observation have shown unexpected rapid cooling of the star, which is thought to be caused by superfluids in its dense core. Superfluids are extremely bizarre but super cool, and you can read more about them from NASA.
The Science of Swearing
Swearing is generally taboo, due to the assumption that it has the power to corrupt and harm. But there is little data that demonstrates a simple word can cause harm—rather, it’s the social constructs around the word that harms people, so instead of dismissing swearing is universally wrong, it’s more useful to ask the question: why do we swear? What does it achieve? It can often be used positively, in jokes, storytelling, stress management, as a substitute for physical aggression, to express anger, joy, surprise, pain—and it’s even believed that swearing could serve an important function in relieving pain. “Swearing is such a common response to pain that there has to be an underlying reason why we do it,” says psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University. Stephens measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in freezing water—and one group was allowed to repeat their favourite swear word, while another group wasn’t. It was found that the swearing students reported less pain and endured an average of 40 seconds longer in the cold water. It’s thought that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved in these physical effects of swearing—while normal language relies on the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives could rely on ancient structures deep in the right hemisphere. One of these structures is the amygdala, which can trigger a fight-or-flight response and help us become less pain-sensitive. Psychologist Steven Pinker of Harvard University agrees, commenting: “I suspect that swearing taps into a defensive reflex in which an animal that is suddenly injured or confined erupts in a furious struggle, accompanied by an angry vocalization to startle and intimidate an attacker.” So swearing might not only be a cathartic exercise—it may have evolved to save our lives.
The Ecosystem of Earth
Earth is a tiny thriving planet in a vast universe, sandwiched between two worlds gone wrong—Mars, which once had water but is now a dry and freezing desert, and Venus, which was once similar to Earth but is now swirling with boiling, toxic cloud. Spinning on between them is Earth: golden, ripe for life. It’s is not a cold, indifferent place—it’s an ecosystem, a sprawling network of interconnected life, and you are part of it. Humans can’t be separated from nature, because we are connected to every living thing. We were an accident, grittily surviving and branching out in the tree of evolution to become what we are today. We are dominating this ecosystem, and the consequences of our actions ripple out to affect every other living being on the planet—sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, but we don’t know how to balance. We search for life on other planets when we don’t even know how to look after our own. This is the only Earth we have, and perhaps it has created its own destruction. Perhaps our ever-growing desire for technological advancement will bring about our own demise, our own extinction, in order to save the planet from ourselves—a Shakespearean tragedy on an immense scale. We are children of Earth, and we are killing it.